News broke on Monday about a potential blockbuster trade (for the Patriots at least). The trade will send All-Pro and troubled wide receiver Josh Gordon of the Cleveland Browns to the New England Patriots. This just proves that good things come to those who wait. Patriot fans have been clamoring for reinforcements for the pass catching corps since before the start of training camp. The final straw in the Josh Gordon fiasco was drawn when reports that the team felt that he was less than truthful in regards to an injured hamstring he suffered. Cleveland’s GM John Dorsey decided that enough was enough.
A Rocky Beginning
Josh Gordon’s time in the NFL has been fraught with suspensions and substance abuse. Suspensions from the Baylor football team for various marijuana-related offenses led to declaring for the Supplemental Draft in 2012. The Cleveland Browns selected him with a second round bid. He instantly became one of the most talented individuals to ever be selected that high. But great talent comes with great responsibility. As the accolades and NFL receiving records piled up, so did the arrests and suspensions. Then it all came crashing down with a season long punishment in the 2015 season. Gordon had racked up over 2700 yards and 14 touchdowns in less than 3 full seasons of play. The Browns franchise went 16-32 and actually flirted with a .500 record in the 2014 season. Since then they’ve won four games, count them 1 – 2 – 3 – 4.
With alternating news of a new drug violation, reinstatements and rehab stints it appeared that a corner had been turned. Was Gordon ready to fulfil his potential and become a dominant force on the field? The news just prior to the 2018 camp was that he was going to miss the beginning weeks due to an ongoing need for addiction recovery therapy. Once he showed up he appeared to be ready to help the Browns make some noise in the rugged AFC North. If he could regain the form that led to the nickname of “Flash”, the Browns could perhaps rack up some wins under John Dorsey’s leadership. Alas, it was not to be. In a quick, but confusing series of events, Josh Gordon suffered a hamstring injury. This quickly led to accusations of untruthfulness and breaches of trust. Finally, the Browns announced that they would be releasing him unless they could find a suitable trade.
The Patriots Wade In
When the 2018 training camp broke and the season began, the Patriots wide receiver position was unsettled to say the least. Injuries, retirements, suspensions and plain ineffectiveness all contributed to a huge unknown at that position. The first two games of the season did nothing to assuage nervous fans. With under 200 yards receiving to all wide receivers through two games, Bill Belichick made his move. It is reported that the Pats are sending a 5th round pick to the Browns in exchange for Josh Gordon and a conditional 7th round pick. They have officially thrown their hat into the circus ring that is this mess.
Color me cautiously optimistic. This is a low risk move. The fifth rounder is peanuts and the conditions attached to the seventh are most likely attached to the number of games played. Gordon is making a very low salary for the next two seasons due to the suspensions. He has to know he is on his very last NFL lifeline. If he messes up here it is highly unlikely that anyone will take the smallest chance on him again. A successful tenure with the high profile Patriots and a Tom Brady led offense will set him up for his first payday. Either with the Patriots or not, he can rehab his image. And maybe, just maybe set himself up for catching the winning pass in a Super Bowl.
All photos courtesy of Getty images unless noted otherwise.
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